A group of economists and business leaders urged Congress on Monday to include healthcare price transparency in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.
In a letter sent to President Trump and other GOP leadership, signatories — including former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Forbes Media chairman and CEO Steve Forbes, former state treasurer of Ohio Ken Blackwell and Vanderbilt University economics professor Larry Van Horn — expressed support for the Health Care PRICE Transparency Act, which would require hospitals and insurers to publish their cash prices and secret negotiated rates in an easily accessible place online.
The letter says the bill, which was recently introduced by Senate Republicans, “would force hospitals and insurers to disclose real prices.”
“This is commonsense legislation that simply requires that the health care industry provide consumers and patients with the same information that every other industry provides.”
The authors cite a JAMA study estimating that fixing pricing problems could save Americans up to $90 billion a year and help minimize hundreds of billions of dollars in health care waste annually.
“Transparency is needed now more than ever with the global coronavirus pandemic that has inflicted abrupt hardships on many Americans,” the letter says. “By requiring hospitals to post real prices and insurers to disclose reimbursement rates before care is delivered, policymakers help patients better evaluate their options, employers design health benefits, and over time provide a substantial economic boost from a less costly health care system without any cost to taxpayers.”
The call for price transparency comes weeks after a federal court ruled in favor of President Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare.
Health care price transparency, the group argues, is “the best, most free market, and least administratively burdensome way to lower health care spending while improving quality and outcomes” and the first step in “fixing our broken and costly healthcare system.”